Waitrose trade update for week ending 31 October 2015 from Marketing Director Rupert Thomas.
With Halloween and the Rugby World Cup Final both taking place last weekend, Waitrose customers were preparing to host friends and family. Total divisional sales excluding fuel were up 1.4%.
Customers made the most of Halloween falling on a Saturday, with total sales for the seasonal event up 28% on last year. Our smaller munchkin pumpkins proved popular (up 36%) with the traditional carving pumpkins also being enjoyed by many (up 10.5%).
Customers were ready to host parties at home, with beer up 8%, ale up 15% and spirits up 16.5%. Gin and whisky proved to be the most popular tipple of choice amongst guests, with sales for each up 36%.
Many enjoyed rustling up winter-warming dishes, with root veg up 6%, organic potatoes up 22% and for a twist on the classic jacket potato, sweet potatoes were up 37.4%. Those not cooking from scratch made the most of our range of ready meals, with chilled meals up 6.6.%, pizzas up 10%, and vegetarian options up 16%.
Customers finished off the night with frozen desserts, with cheesecake up 26% and gateaux up 44%. Those looking for a healthier option enjoyed our frozen fruit offering, up 33%.
Elsewhere, fish had a strong week across various ranges with both service counter fish and pre-packed fish up 3% and 7.7% respectively. Customers were purchasing childhood favourite foods to serve to their children this half term, with fish fingers up 13% and fish cakes up 20%.